Home | Tyrone players impress in One Wall Nationals…
Tyrone players impress in One Wall Nationals…
There was a fantastic contingent of Tyrone players participating in last weekend’s Irish One Wall Handball Nationals in Breaffy House Sports Arena, near Castlebar, which attracted a record entry from all parts of Ireland, as well as USA, Puerto Rico, Italy and England.
The main highlights of the event were undoubtedly provided by the visiting USA and Puerto Rico players who mesmerised the large Irish crowd with their wonderful repertoire of skills. The Men’s Open final was an epic contest between Herman Mendez and his Puerto Rican teammate Wally Amaro, which eventually went the way of Mendez after Amaro had taken the opening game. The popular winner displayed awesome power and precision to thrill spectators and ultimately claim the honours.
The big success stories from a Tyrone viewpoint were the impressive wins recorded by Carrickmore’s Niall Allison and Beragh’s Johnny Woods in the Boys under-14 and under-16 categories respectively, although Ruairi Kelly’s qualification for the Mens Open semi-finals was an outstanding achievement.
Kelly emerged as the leading Irish player in the top event after defeating Mayo’s Vinny Moran and Irish number one, Charlie Shanks, to set up an intriguing semi-final encounter with Puerto Rican star, Wally Amaro. The Brackey man put up a great show, especially in the second game, before bowing out of contention with his head held high.
Darragh Daly from Carrickmore had enjoyed a brilliant first round win over Meath’s Tom Sheridan before going out to Herman Mendez in round two, while Michael Donnelly lost out to American, Willie Polanco, in round two.
Niall Allison, meanwhile, came through a very competitive under-14 competition in great style, eventually winning the silverware with fine victories over Tyrone colleague, Sean Kerr, in the semi-final and Clare’s Fergal Coughlan in the decider.
And Johnny Woods emerged victorious from a top class field in the under-16 singles event. After seeing off the likes of Limerick’s Pauric Quish and Monaghan star, Darren Doherty, not to mention his own cousin Patrick McCrory, with whom he had a titanic battle in round two, he found himself up against another Tyrone player, Pol Clarke, in the final. Clarke had impressed against Down’s Pat Havern in the semi-final but eventually succumbed to Woods in an exciting climax to the competition.
Tyrone’s Caolan Daly missed out on the under-23 honours, while Niall Kerr was extremely unlucky to lose out in the Masters final to Roscommon’s Aonghus Cunningham, the match requiring a tie break to decide the winner after the players were tied after ten minutes of play. That tie break went the way of the Roscommon man on a scoreline of 5-4.
Lorcan McBride, son of Carrickmore manager, Ciaran, teamed up with Loughmacrory’s Dara Curran to win the Boys under-10 doubles title, a competition which also included Rory Canavan, son of Tyrone legend Peter. Another member of the Canavan family, Dara, took part in the Boys under-12 singles.
Meanwhile, Maeve McElduff produced some top class handball in the Girls under-16 event to reach the final, defeating Roscommon star, Lauren O’Riordan, along the way. After continuing her impressive form in the opening exchanges of the final, she was eventually beaten by the very talented Ciana Ni Churraoin from Galway.
In other ladies competitions, Michelle Warren, Lisa McAleer, Maria Curran, Elise McCrory and Aoife Kelly acquitted themselves very well.
The One Wall Handball explosion continued at the weekend at the Breaffy House Hotel Sports Complex in Castlebar Co. Mayo as 490 handballers across a wide range of divisions battled for national honours on 7 handball courts. Tyrone players were prominent in many of the competitions and were the most successful county winning 3 national titles and coming runner-up in 4 as well as reaching 4 other semi – finals and picking up a number of plate victories.
Ruairi Kelly takes out No1 seed
In the men’s open Ruairi Kelly was in the form of his life as he sensationally ended the 4 year unbeaten record of Irish no1 Charly Shanks at the quarter -final stage. Down 8-4 early on in the match Kelly then unleashed a series of bullet serves that left Shanks rooted to the floor to move into a 12-8 lead. The Armagh man tried to up his game but he could not live with Kelly who steadily increased his lead for an eventual 24-17 win. Ruairi’s semi final opponent was Puerto Rican Wally Armano a professional one waller in New York who along with countryman Hernan Mendez and Americans Yuber ” Pee Wee ” Castro and Willie Polancao brought a whole new dimension to the game. Kelly was blown away in the first game going down 15-1 before recovering brilliantly in the second to lead 7-6 before Armano got on top again to win 15-9. In the second the Brackey player showed that he has the game to compete with the pros with a virtually unreturnable serve when he gets it spot on and must now be considered as one of Ireland’s top One Wallers.
Woods beats Clarke for Under 16 Honours
Tyrone players dominated the under 16 championships with two Brackey players reaching the final after a series of exciting matches. Last year’s under 14 champion Johnny Woods was in remarkable form taking out a series of top players including Patrick McCrory in the last 16 Padraig Quish in the quarters and Darren Doherty in the semis. Meanwhile in the other half of the draw Pol Clarke was also making steady progress beating Italy’s Daniel Avigliano in the first round, Ramunas Ramusaskas in the last 16 and Martin Mullins in the quarters before ending the run of Pat Havern- who had knocked out the reigning champion Colin Crehan- in the semi- final.
The final was played over 15 minutes and in the early stages the players were level at 3, 5 and 8 before Woods hit a hot streak that saw him jump into a 5 point lead at 14 9 which was ultimately to be the winning margin in a high class encounter. Over the weekend both players displayed a high level of skill and Woods must be a short priced favourite to retain his title next year. Tyrone’s dominance was completed in this competition when Brackey’s Gabhainn McCrystall defeated Carrickmore’s Ryan Mullan 18-15 to win the plate competition.
Under 10 doubles title comes to Tyrone
Famous Tyrone handball names like Curran and McCartan were joined by football names like Munroe, McBride, McGarrity and Canavan as a squad of under10s battled for the doubles title. In the end 3 of the 4 finalists were from Tyrone as the Loughmacrory/Carrickmore partnership of Dara Curran and Lorcan McBride held off the challenge of Brackey’s Caolan McCartan and his Kells Co Meath partner Gerard Farrelly to further illustrate the strength of the One Wall game in Tyrone. Over the weekend the level of skill and enthusiasm of this group were very evident and the enjoyment the youngsters derived from meeting and talking to the visiting American and Puerto Rican pros added to the occasion.